Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Pasta alla Puttanesca" - Whore's Pasta

This week, culinary "goddess" Nigella Lawson came to town. Now don't get me wrong, I like Nigella. I think she's quite a good writer and her obvious love of food - not just cooking but actually eating - is inspiring. I think the problem I've had recently is the wholly unoriginal way media chooses to write and talk about her.

I get it, I get it, Nigella is a sensual, buxom, voluptuous, bombshell. Haven't we tread on this ground before? Haven't we discussed her tight sweaters, her ample behind and the "erotic" way she massages a chicken to death? And yes, she has definitely cultivated this image of culinary kitten in a very smart way but c'mon, is it really so noteworthy that she comes to Toronto and makes "Whore's Pasta"? I don't know about you, but I've been making and teaching others to make "Pasta alla Puttanesca" for years. I always explain the meaning of the name and get at least one or two giggles, but unfortunately no one actually swoons.

Here's my recipe for this illicit dish. Enjoy.

¼ c/65 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
½ tsp/2 ml Red Pepper Flakes
4 Anchovy Fillets
1 28oz Can San Marzano Tomatoes
1 tsp/5 ml Sugar
¼ c/65 ml Kalamata Olives, pitted & halved
¼ c/65 ml Green Olives, pitted & halved
1 tbsp/15 ml Capers, drained & rinsed
1 tsp/5 ml Dried Oregano
Salt & Pepper
12 oz/335 g Spaghetti

Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

• In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in garlic, red pepper flakes and anchovy fillets. Sauté for a minute or two until garlic becomes fragrant and anchovies begin to dissolve.
• Using your hands, crush tomatoes and add to pan with sugar, olives capers and oregano. Simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
• While sauce simmers, prepare spaghetti according to package directions. Drain.
• Toss pasta with sauce and serve. Garnish with an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano.

Serves 4-6